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  • Andrew Andrew Nov 1, 2011 19:52 Flag

    Drawing no conclusions

    Tom, Clayton is only one of our players that Premiership clubs will be tracking; Lees, White, Snodgrass, and Howson, to name four, are others. If Bates sees an advantage in ‘off-loading’ them then, as profit comes first, he will. However, Bates also knows, presumably, that these players will then need replacing, and that cost could outweigh their sale – though he might think that the success of selling Schmeichel for £1.25M and buying Lonergan for £600K is justification. Hmmmm!
    The other point you make – “we have a good, tight squad who are getting into a settled formation and can only get better as they continue to play TOGETHER!” – is a positive argument for not selling players. Though the key word is ‘squad’. Rather than ‘squad’, I see that we have a ‘team’ that plays well together and, as we have seen recently, does not deliver even when it is playing well. Simon Grayson’s explanation for Leeds lacklustre performance in the first half against Cardiff was “there may have been a few tired legs after Wednesday’s game against Birmingham”. So why did he not rotate the team to ensure it was fresh, kept the opposition guessing, the whole squad involved, and players earning a starting XI place?
    I can see Simon Grayson’s dilemma. For two seasons, he has struggled to find an effective back four combination to stem Leeds’ defensive problems. Now he has one, it is right that he sticks with it… Nevertheless, shit happens, like O’Dea’s concussion, and plans have to change. Simon’s weakness last season was his predictability and it is beginning to look as if it is recurring.

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    • Andrew, SG now knows his preferred starting eleven and his bench players and given that the they stay injury free it would seem that he will stick with them for the time being hence "tight squad" I have never been an advocate of the rotational system of shuffling players unless its through drastic loss of form or injury certainly not in this league. All the teams that have gained promotion recently have been teams that have consisted of a settled first eleven and good subs on the bench. I don't agree with SG that the team looked lack lustre in the first half maybe it took them the first 15 minutes or so to find a way through and around their "packed midfield". We certainly didn't looked tired thereon and on another day we would have won the match comfortably had we taken our chances. I think we definitely are on the verge of achieving this year. Yes SG has a dilemma but would you pick Becchio over Andy K or the Finn over Johnny H to start? I can't see any of the peripheral squad players displacing our current 16 with the possible exception of M F can you?

      • 1 Reply to Tom
      • Expect minor changes tonight, Tom.
        Too much is expected of Snoddy. Defenders double up on him and we need an equal threat from the wide left to pull defences apart. Sam can take defenders on and provide excellent crosses. His weakness is in tracking back. Aidy White's pace scares defenders and an alternative would be to play him up-field and have Pugh at LB...
        Actually, rather than a tight team/squad, what is working for Leeds are the partnerships of White and Pugh, Snodgrass and Connolly, Lees and O'Dea, McCormack and Keogh. The partnership that is not working is Howson and Clayton in midfield.
        As regards your question, 'would I pick the Finn over Johnny H?' the answer is yes. Vayrynen is a defensive midfielder while Howson is attacking - he is out of position and better suited as an auxiliary striker. If we play 4-5-1, then I would include Johnny. In our present 4-4-2 formation he is a make-weight.
        Apart from fixture fatigue, and predictable tactics that oppositions managers can exploit, the other problem with playing the same line-up game after game is that when a change has to be made, due to injury or suspension, the 'peripheral' players who are then brought in have to catch-up with how the team plays - whereas, if they had played on a regular basis through rotation, they would fit into the team automatically.
        Anyway, let's see whether Larry's tactics can beat those of his successor at Blackpool. I am expecting a Leeds win tonight.